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Writing Down the Middle

(excerpted from Locus Magazine, July 1997)
Eric Nulynd pic
    Photo by Charles N. Brown

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Eric S. Nylund grew up all over California. He finished his first two novels, Pawn's Dream and A Game of Universe before attending Clarion in 1994, though both books appeared later, in 1995 and 1996 respectively. He wrote his third novel, Dry Water, while living in a shack in a Florida orange grove for a year. Then he moved to Seattle, helping Microsoft with its multi-media encyclopedia, rewriting articles by famous scientists. He still lives in Seattle, now writing full-time.

"This last year, I wrote Signal to Noise. I have described writing as a cross between a religious calling and a heroin addiction. There are a lot of bad things that go along with it, and a lot of ego gratification, grubbing for fame and money -- visceral things. But that's part of it. Anyone who says otherwise is a saint or a liar, I guess."

"Signal to Noise, scheduled for next year, uses a lot of virtual reality to pull out some of the characteristics and psychology and psychosis of the character. A lot of the virtual reality, in the way the world is set up, is subliminal and leaky, so a lot of things just kind of leak out of his subconscious, and he has to control them. The book is science fiction, but secretly everything I write is fantasy. It's got nuts and bolts, real mathematics, some real programming. But it's written in such a way that it's richly textured, and there's a lot of psychology going on -- not happy-go-lucky psychology but dark, visceral psychology."

"I view science fiction and fantasy as a spectrum. At one end you have media tie-in low-end fiction. At the other end, you have very literary fiction -- you might call it impenetrable. I try to write right in the middle: well-written stuff, but not hard to read."

© 1997 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.